Widescreen rant '04

Well it took you long enough. It seems the masses have finally embraced widescreen DVD's. This excerpt is taken from the outstanding www.widescreen.org:

"So, I'm very pleased to announce that the widescreen releases for the Star Wars trilogy and many other movies continue to sell and rent far more than their pan-and-scan counterparts. Every week I check the sales and rental numbers. It's clear that widescreen continued to gain the confidence of the majority of American movie watchers. In fact, the pan-and-scan - sorry - full-frame version of the Star Wars trilogy was consistently ten places behind its widescreen counterpart."
Now, this is considered a "geek" movie (no offense, I'm one of you), one of those that has a fan base who is more in tune with technology and wants their movies perfect. Still it's a sign that shows we are moving in the right direction.

If you still have yet to figure out what's going on, what are you waiting for? There is a reason for this. Watching movies in their original aspect ratios should be the only way you are watching movies. There is no excuse for doing it differently. You ARE NOT losing part of the picture due to those "black bars." You're gaining close to 50% in some cases. Heads are not "cut off." The top of a characters head will seem that way in the pan & scan version too.

Oh sure, those "black bars" are annoying, but it's going to be even more annoying when you have to finally buy a widescreen TV and all of your precious pan & scan movies have those "black bars" on the sides, isn't it? Most people don't even give widescreen a chance. They see what annoys them and turn it off. Here's a solution: Watch the movie in the dark. Not only will you forget about the bars, but also you'll be engrossed in the movie and they won't even be an issue.

Another thing I have learned: It's a tough conversion. Here's what I did. Watch 5 movies that you have seen a lot of in widescreen, then just try to go back to pan & scan. You can't. The difference is incredible. Your mind just sort of registers how these movies are framed, you'll appreciate it when all of the characters are talking on screen, and the annoyance of simply knowing you're missing something it too much. You'll also see things in your favorites you never noticed before.

Watching movies cropped is WRONG. There, I said it. You are not doing yourself a favor. There is a very good chance you may not like a movie if you watch it panned & scanned. I cannot even fathom what the "Lord of the Rings" movies would be like chopped up. Think of it this way:

A massive army of 100 orcs approaches the enemy.


A massive army of 1,000 orcs approaches the enemy.

Which has more impact? Which puts the good guys in a tighter spot? The bottom one right? That's widescreen. Pan & scan will lose half of the army to cropping. How could possibly watch a movie like that?


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